Days after a student of Ambedkar University was fined Rs 5,000 for allegedly making 'slur remarks' against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the latter has asked the university not to fine the student for "slur remarks." It was also reported that the Delhi government has also asked the university not to take any action against the student for her remarks. A direction in this regard has been issued by Manish Sisodia on Monday.

As per the information, on June 30, the university had imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on a final semester student of MA in Performance Studies for her alleged remarks made during an online convocation programme of the university in December last year.

manish sisodia
Manish Sisodia.Twitter

Dy CM opposes university's move

In a praiseworthy move by Sisodia, the deputy CM won accolades for his strong-worded objection to the university's decision to impose a fine against the student for voicing her opinion that is critical of the government but not damaging the social fabric of the country or constitutional values. He asked Ambedkar University not to act against the actions of the student, and further directed all universities to follow the same directive.

Read the full statement by Dy CM Sisodia below:

It has been brought to my notice that disciplinary action is been taken against a student of Ambedkar University Delhi, for voicing certain remarks against the Chief Minister and myself. Firstly, no action should be taken against any student for expressing a viewpoint that is different from the Government or the University, unless the said statement damages the social fabric of our country or is against our constitutional values. Secondly, since the student was expressing her viewpoint against the government, as being reported in media, the matter should have first been brought to our notice before initiating any action against her.

A university should be a safe space for students to freely voice their opinions, debate and develop their points of views. No student should be punished for exercising their right to free speech within the university space. Students are the future of our country and if we do not allow them the opportunity to critique, to comment and to develop their own voice, we set up our country for a bleak future where people will lack courage to stand up against injustice. This is not the vision I have for my country or any our universities. If voices of criticism and dissent cannot be expressed against political leaders in our country, then we are no longer a democracy but a dictatorship. And this, in itself, is a reason why the Right to Freedom of Speech must be secured for every student and every citizen.

The Principal Secretary, Higher Education is to look into the matter and ensure that the fine on the student is cancelled and she faces no action for her remarks. Additionally, the Principal Secretary must issue relevant directions to all Universities that come under the aegis of the Delhi Government to ensure that no such action is taken against students in future also for expressing their opinions, unless they are damaging to the social fabric of the country or go against our constitutional values."

Sisodia's remarks have faired well with netizens, who lauded deputy CM's reaction.

Right to freedom of speech must be secured; Sisodia asks university not to fine student for 'slur remarks'

University's stand on student's remarks

Arvind Kejriwal

In an order, the university proctor said, "An incident of use of slur/distasteful/other remarks in the YouTube thread during the 9th annual convocation of AUD on December 23, 2020 by Neha had come to the notice of the proctorial board. The board, after having ground through the case, had constituted a sub-committee to inquire into the incident and give its report."

The sub-committee had resolved that the comments made on the public platform about the university community, chief guest and guest of honour were baseless and disrespectful and clearly amounted to a deliberate attempt to defame and disrespect the university community.